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Why Alton Brown Insists You Grind Your Own Meat For Burgers

Alton Brown smiling
Alton Brown smiling - Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Food Network star Alton Brown is perhaps best known for "Good Eats," a television program that showcased conventional yet innovative recipes featuring dishes people love. His technique for preparing burgers is one shining example of his kitchen prowess, as Brown's recipe features an extra but essential step. Instead of purchasing ground beef from your local grocery store, Brown suggests buying intact cuts of beef and grinding them yourself. While a bit more labor-intensive, grinding beef at home makes for a better burger overall, according to the TV show host.

To make your burgers, you'll need sirloin and chuck steaks. Both cuts of beef must be separately ground up in a food processor after being trimmed and cubed, then mixed with a smattering of kosher salt. According to Brown, grinding your own hamburger meat is key to achieving an amazing texture -- one that can't always be replicated by store-bought ground beef. Of course, improved texture is not the only benefit that grinding your own burgers offers.

Read more: The 13 Best Steaks For Grilling

Store-Bought Is Not Always Fine When It Comes To Ground Beef

raw burger patties on cutting board
raw burger patties on cutting board - Fcafotodigital/Getty Images

Store-bought ground beef is convenient, but it also has a few drawbacks. Quality can be lacking with store-bought ground beef, as you can't always be sure what's included in the package. When you grind your own, you can select the freshest, choicest cuts of meat available. Not only does this enhance the texture and flavor of the finished burger, but it can also decrease the risk of any possible food safety issues. Additionally, you can select steaks with a higher fat content to ensure an especially juicy burger.

How the meat is ground is another factor that affects quality. Lots of grocery stores over-grind their meat, which can lead to a dry burger. This is because over-grinding eliminates the small pockets within the ground beef where inherent meat juices can reside. These juices are key to a pleasing texture, and grinding your own meat ensures that you don't overdo it. Of course, quality can also be impacted by the steps you take after grinding.

Tips On Creating A Better Burger

woman frying burgers in a pan
woman frying burgers in a pan - Pekic/Getty Images

In Alton Brown's burger recipe, the beloved chef emphasizes gentle actions when taking ground chuck and sirloin and mixing them together. While it might seem like a minor directive, tenderness is key when it comes to the handling of ground beef. Overworking beef creates a stiff texture, which is bound to become even tougher after cooking. Along with using a light touch, don't work too hard when combining the different ground cuts together.

Utilizing the correct cooking time and temperature is also crucial. Brown's maximum cooking time is five minutes on each side of the burger when you're aiming for medium doneness and the burner is set to medium-high heat. Cooking for too long or setting the stovetop at a higher temperature will lead to a dried-out burger, as all the moisture will be cooked out of the beef before it reaches the bun. Of course, the size of the patty plays a role in doneness, which is why Brown provides a precise measurement of 5 ounces. Cooking burgers isn't exactly rocket science, but a little know-how goes a long way, and Brown is replete with helpful food knowledge.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.